Editor's note: This post is the first entry of a multi-part series of interviews featuring Fordham's own Andy Smarick and Jack Schneider, an assistant professor of education at Holy Cross. It originally appeared in a slightly different form at Education Week's K-12 Schools: Beyond the Rhetoric blog.
Schneider: I see a place for some charters in the K–12 system, created under particular conditions, and governed by a specific process.
Some, however, claim that we'd be better off with a system entirely composed of charters.
You're a charter booster. Where do you land on this question?
Smarick: In short, I envision a future where all or nearly all of a city's public schools are charter schools. (Note that I'm only discussing city school systems here.)
Though I'm generally disinclined to fundamentally alter longstanding institutions, urban districts have, for fifty years, proven themselves wholly incapable of producing the results our kids deserve. And we're talking about tens of millions of low-income kids who have been assigned to schools in these persistently failing institutions. While I admire the people who have tried their best to improve urban districts, the results fall miles short of what's needed. So we need a dramatic break from how things have been done.
Now, I remain open to the idea of the government running a few urban schools, for example a selective-admissions high school or some other specialty program. But, in general, the government should prepare to get out of the business of operating urban public schools and hand that responsibility off to civil society.
Schneider: You're right that we see persistent...